Amazon dictates terms to New York over second headquarters
21 November 2018
Following the announcement that Amazon will divide its second corporate headquarters between Long Island City in Queens, New York and Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, press reports indicate that the online shopping and logistics giant will reap $3.3 billion in incentives from New York state and New York City alone.
While Amazon will capitalize on locations adjacent to the centers of American finance and militarism, respectively—the Crystal City location is literally across the street from the Pentagon—capitalist politicians like Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have sought to turn the relationship on its head, lauding the arrival of Amazon a boon to New York City.
Both the governor and mayor have pointed to Amazon’s promise of bringing 25,000 jobs with an average salary above $150,000, although this seems dubious given that the starting wage for Amazon employees is barely one-tenth that sum.
The agreement reached between Amazon and the State of New York comes at a cost of $1.525 billion to state taxpayers. $1.2 billion of the $1.5 billion state expenditure is coming from the state’s Excelsior Job Program and is based on the number of new hires. In essence, New York is offering to pay $48,000 per employee—almost one-third of Amazon’s purported labor cost.
The state will also pay Amazon a $325 million construction grant if it meets certain hiring deadlines, a figure that will increase to $505 million if the corporation hires 40,000 individuals by 2034.
The establishment of Amazon HQ2 in Queens will also impact the finances of the City of New York. According to officials cited in the New York Post, New York City has given Amazon…